If you are like me and have a glut of cherry tomatoes, this recipe is for you. There is nothing more comforting than homemade biscuits, and I had cherry tomatoes, so I decided to combine them and make a biscuit-topped cobbler.
I wanted the cobbler to be simple and showcase the fresh vine-ripened local tomatoes, so I kept it to basically two ingredients, leeks and tomatoes. Since the filling was so simple, I decided to up the ante on the biscuit topping. I decided to make my "Praise the Lard" biscuits and add pimento cheese, turning the biscuit topping into pimento-cheese biscuits.
TOMATO COBBLER WITH PIMENTO-CHEESE BISCUITS
Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours
5-6 cups cherry tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil, about 2 tablespoons
3 leeks, chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
For the biscuits:
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour, divided
1/2 (generous) cup pimento cheese
1/4 pound cold (1 stick) lard (or cold butter that you grate with a box grater in a pinch)
1/2-3/4 cup real buttermilk
1/2 stick salted butter, melted
Heat oven to 375 F. Place parchment paper in cookie sheet or half-sheet pan. Pick the stems off the cherry tomatoes and rinse them. Do not cut the cherry tomatoes - you want to keep them whole so they cook and collapse on themselves but do not become a liquid-y sauce.
Warm the olive oil in a heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat. When warm, add the leeks and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute until the leeks are very soft and tender, at least 10 minutes, add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and granulated garlic together. Add the corn starch mixture to the leeks and mix well. Add the cherry tomatoes to the hot leeks. Stir gently until the leek mixture is evenly mixed with the tomatoes. Let sit for an hour. Pour the cooled leek-tomato mixture into a square baker and set aside.
To prepare biscuits: Place 2 cups of flour in large bowl. Add the pimento cheese. Cut in shortening, using a pastry blender or blending fork (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 1/2 cup of buttermilk; stir with fork until soft dough forms and mixture begins to pull away from sides of bowl. If the dough is too wet, add the extra 1/4 cup of flour, little by little. If it is too dry, add the extra 1/4 cup of buttermilk, little by little.
On lightly floured surface, knead dough 1-2 times, or just until smooth. Do not over-work the dough. Roll out dough to about 1/3-inch thickness. Cut straight down with a floured biscuit cutter (2-3-inch round cutter) - do not twist the cutter. Bake the extra biscuit dough to serve on the side.
Place the biscuits over the tomatoes. You may need to cut some of the biscuits in half to fit the pan. Brush the biscuits with a little melted butter. Place the baking pan on the sheet pan to catch drips, and then transfer to the pre-heated oven.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the tomatoes are very bubbly and the tops of the biscuits are nicely browned. When the cobbler comes out of the oven, brush tops again with the melted salted butter. Transfer from sheet pan to a cooling rack, and let the cobbler rest for at least 15 minutes before eating.
Classic Pimento Cheese:
1 8-ounce block of extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1 8-ounce block of extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
1 4-ounce jar of Dromedary pimientos with liquid
2-3 generous tablespoons of real mayonnaise such as Hellmann's or Duke's
Fresh Ground black pepper to taste
Grate cheese into a deep bowl using the largest holes on your grater. Pour the entire jar of chopped pimentos on the cheese. Scoop 2 generous tablespoons of mayonnaise out of the jar and stir everything together with a fork, mashing the cheese and pimentos together.
If it is too dry, add more mayonnaise. Grind 2-3 coarse rotations of fresh black pepper on the pimento cheese and mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust with pepper or mayonnaise as needed. I find that the cheese and mayonnaise are salty enough and you will not need to add any salt.
Spoon pimento cheese into a glass jar with a fitted lid_I like to use a wide mouth mason jar which then makes a nice serving dish as well. The pimento cheese good immediately but is even better the next day.
Nutrition information per serving: 453 calories; 263 calories from fat; 29 g fat (13 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 874 mg sodium; 39 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 9 g protein.
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